Well, it’s over. After three days of meeting, greeting, cheering, and even a heckle or two, President Obama has bid adieu to Israel. While the overall trip was successful, we couldn’t help but round up the some of the more, ahem, entertaining moments.
Social media loves a good diplomatic visit. Pictures abound, attempts at speaking other languages often fail, and the agonizing possibility that something will go horribly wrong — like a car breaking down, perhaps? — makes for great third party commentary.
All of you avidly following President Obama’s trip to Israel this week will be happy to know that the visit now has its own Pinterest page, called “The Unbreakable Bond: #ObamaInIsrael.”
Run by Israeli volunteers of the Ministry of Public Diplomacy, the page features 18 boards and 198 pins showing everything from the Jerusalem preparations and the President’s arrival at Ben Gurion airport, to Obama and Bibi tasting matzo while checking out robots at the Israel Museum.
All that’s missing are nifty DIY recipes for him to try out while he’s there. Don’t worry though, we’ve got him covered.
Watch Obama say how happy he is to be in Israel — in Hebrew:
Sunday’s Emmys were a font of Shmooze celebrity news. First off, Mayim Bialik made Jewish moms and dads everywhere kvell at the awards ceremony on Sunday night when she gave a shout out during a red carpet interview to popular parenting blog, Kveller.com.
Did you notice that “Two Broke Girls” star Kat Dennings was slouching all evening at the Emmys? Apparently, it was to ensure that her ample bosom did not pop out of her über-low-cut stunning scarlet strapless gown. “No matter what I do they’re there, so…,” the actress joshed. Denning’s date, boyfriend Nick Zano’s main assignment was to prevent a wardrobe malfunction. “He has been alerted to the possibility of emergency and he’s always primed and ready,” she said.
Gideon Raff, the original creator of the Israeli series “Hatufim,” on which Showtime’s “Homeland” is based, was on hand to receive the Emmy for the best writing in a drama series. He accepted it along with Alex Ganza and Howard Gordon, the American show’s executive producers.
In her acceptance speech for the award for outstanding actress in a drama series, Claire Danes showed off her guttural pronunciation skills as she acknowledged her co-star Mandy Patinkin. “Challah!” she exclaimed after mentioning Patinkin’s name. Was this some inside joke? Or maybe a reference to the round variety of the traditional Jewish bread we eat on the High Holidays? Speculation abounded on Twitter.
In other news, the Jewish Council for Education and Research’s “Let My People Vote” video ad starring the Sarah Silverman has quickly topped the political charts.
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher’s PDA fest continued this past weekend. The pair were spotted canoodling in various spots around the Big Apple.
Israel is expecting visits from Chuck Norris, who accepted an invitation from Likud MK Danny Danon, as well as from RedFoo (the guy with the big hair and oversized glasses) of the recently broken-up LMFAO.
Full frontal? No prob. Max Greenfield, who plays Schmidt on “New Girl,” says he’s ready and willing to portray Christian Grey in the upcoming film version of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
In sad news, it was announced that Bonnie Franklin has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Gen Xers, in particular, will recall that Franklin, 68, played mom to Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips’ teenage characters on the “One Day At A Time” sitcom from 1975 to 1984.
Finally, as the Day of Atonement descends upon us, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres are making a conciliatory gesture…at least for Kol Nidrei. The two will pray together on Erev Yom Kippur at a Jerusalem synagogue close to the President’s official residence.
What’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doing in a trailer for Adam Sandler’s new movie? And what is he doing in between some slices of rye bread?
These are the lingering questions one has after watching a Funny of Die advertising spot cut by Andy Samberg, who also stars in “That’s My Boy.” The film is about a young teenage boy named Donny (Sandler) who fathers and raises his son Todd (Samberg) until Todd is 18. The immature, deadbeat dad later shows up on the eve of the successful son’s wedding, and all hell breaks loose.
Mazel tov, Benjamin “King Bibi” Netanyahu. You’re officially the most influential Jew in the world, according to the Jerusalem Post’s just-released ranking of the world’s 50 most significant Semites.
And good on you, (Jon Stewart #7). The Post thinks you’ve got more juice than Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (#9) and Eric Cantor (#19) —and all of you rate higher than Shimon Peres (#22) and George Soros (#38).
But the Post’s choices — Canadian rapper Drake at #16? Natalie Portman at #36? — have sparked some good-natured hand-wringing in the blogosphere.
In most of the world, leaving a job means exactly that — moving on. In this part of the Middle East, however, it doesn’t seem to mean much. Take, for example, two of the most important Palestinian figures. Does anyone recall that the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat actually resigned last year following the leak of the so-called Palestine Papers? And does anyone remember that, also last year, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad was meant to be making an exit after the Fatah-Hamas unity deal, but he never left and has just had his position renewed after a cabinet reshuffle.
And now we hear of what Natan Eshel is up to. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff, he resigned in February amid scandal — he had admitted sexual harassment of a female staffer and signed a plea bargain admitting misconduct that it was none other than Eshel who brokered the recent unity deal between the Likud and Kadima parties which saved the country from elections. According to Yediot he still has the use of a high-end government car and a cell phone, paid for by the State. Oh, and he is also receiving NIS 40,000 (over $10,000) a month.
Has Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu been reading that classic self-help book by Dale Carnegie? It would appear, at least according to Time magazine’s latest list, that he has indeed been winning friends and influencing people. For the second year and a row, Bibi has been named by Time as one of “The100 Most Influential People in the World.”
The magazine calls Netanyahu a “transformational leader.” Ranking Bibi among the world’s great leaders, Eric Cantor, who wrote a short article about the Prime Minister for the list, described him as “one of these iconic Israelis, a strong, determined leader who has excelled during a lifetime of service to the state of Israel.” Cantor further noted that Netanyahu “deserves credit for drawing attention to the threat Iran poses to Israel, to America, to the region, to its own people and to the free world.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is no different from the rest of us when it comes to trying to boost our online presence and optimize our social networking reach. You may have heard about his recent efforts to get more people to “like” his official Facebook page, some or which got him into a little trouble.
Well, now he’s boasting about the number of “friends” he has (200,000 at last count). The only problem is that — at least in this case — the numbers kind of lie.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accustomed to mockery from the left for his conviction that Israel is on the brink of grave danger from Iran. But now he faces harsh words from one of the far right’s most renowned ideologues.
Eliezer Melamed, the very same rabbi who caused furor and state sanctions against his yeshiva for saying that troops told to evacuate settlements or outposts should disobey, has rattled off a stinging and very personal attack against Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
In a move to reach Israeli youth, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video of himself inviting young people ages 13-18 to propose new ideas and legislative proposals to a special meeting of the Israeli government. But unfortunately for Bibi, it looks like the kids just aren’t that into him or his government.
We’re definitely not talking about a viral video here. Since the clip was posted on YouTube on February 29, it has had only 282 views. The thought of being chosen as one of five people to sit next to the prime minister and present a suggestion for how the government could be doing things differently just doesn’t seem to appeal to the teens. Is it Bibi they don’t like? Or do they just think that sitting around a boardroom table with a bunch of suits is boring and uncool? It’s hard to say. Could be either or both.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s now-famous duck comment has caused a great deal of amusement at his expense, most famously from this animated remix. Now, the venerated British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, has set its best comic writers on Bibi.
“If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then what is it? That’s right, it’s a duck. But this duck is a nuclear duck and it’s time the world started calling a duck a duck,” said the Israeli Prime Minister at AIPAC.
Madonna’s upcoming concert in Tel Aviv, or the Iranian nuclear crisis: Which is more important? The answer is obvious to some of the Queen of Pop’s Israeli fans.
Confident that they have their priorities straight and that their cause is just, Madonna fans are pleading with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off on striking Iran until after the singer’s concert has taken place at the Ramat Gan Stadium on May 29. And just like any other protest group, they have set up a Facebook page — this one replete with a photo of Bibi posing with Madge, likely taken on one of her recent visits to the Holy Land). It’s called, “Bibi, No War with Iran until after Madonna’s performance on May 29.” Not too snappy a title, but they do get their point across.
What would be your attitude toward someone who had plotted to kill you? I can’t help thinking that I’d be more than a little broiges.
You would imagine that the stakes are upped a little when the target of the murder plot is the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas party. After all, his would-be murderer was planning his death as an act of terrorism, and Yosef famously said in 2001 that it is “forbidden to be merciful” to Palestinian terrorists. People initially presumed that the “them” referred to Palestinians in general, but he then clarified that he meant Arab terrorists.
It seems that Bibi is feeling the need to connect with the Word of God these days. Last Friday, Israel’s prime minister announced at a ceremony marking thirty days since the passing of his late father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, that he has established a regular Bible study meeting in his official residence in Jerusalem.
The study sessions, which Netanyahu dedicated to the memory of Ben-Artzi, are actually a resurrection of a practice of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, and also of Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Netanyahu mentioned in a speech Sunday marking the 38th anniversary of Ben-Gurion’s death that Ben-Artzi, a noted poet and Bible scholar, used to attend the study meetings hosted by Ben-Gurion.
High-tech geniuses, remarkable thinkers, and Nobel Prize winning scientists — Israel has them all. But seemingly none of them need as much brainpower as one who can put the brakes on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. So says Foreign Policy magazine.
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan ranks number 63 in the list of its “top global thinkers.” Why? “For being the last man in Israel to stand up to Benjamin Netanyahu.” He recently roundly criticized rumored plans for Israel to strike Iran. The magazine wrote that “when Dagan refers to an Israeli airstrike on Iran’s nuclear installations as ‘the stupidest thing I have ever heard,’ we should pay attention.’” The “stupidest thing” quote was brought to light here.
Some tech-savvy Israelis thought that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hogging the spotlight yesterday as the nation celebrated the return of Gilad Shalit after five years and four months in Hamas captivity.
So, they started a creative Facebook meme to express their frustration with Bibi’s perceived need to be in so many photos of the soldier’s homecoming. Facebook users, calling Bibi the Forrest Gump of Gilad Shalit Day, began Photoshopping his face (taken from the now iconic picture of Shalit’s first embrace with his father) into images of historic events he has absolutely nothing to do with.
Israel’s “tent protests” have joined the ranks of America’s recent sex scandals by earning the attention of Taiwanese animators.
Cartoonists for the country’s NMA media company have depicted the protests in a new video, which provides background about the demonstrations in the local language, as well as in English subtitles. The clip features a look-alike of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as references to Daphne Leef, one of the key organizers behind the movement, which is fighting for more affordable housing, among other issues.
Appearing as a Taiwanese cartoon has become something of a rite of passage — often a dubious one — in recent years. Sex scandals involving Tiger Woods and former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner have gotten the cartoon treatment, as have topics such as the life and career of Steve Jobs.
A representative of the company tells Israeli news site YNet that a team of 300 animators produces 32 minutes of video each day. Previous videos related include one about an Israeli polygamist named Goel Razon.
Another day, another round of embarrassment for the Netanyahu family.
Tara Mela, the Nepalese household worker injured during an argument with Sara Netanyahu, gave a press conference yesterday, in which she alleged further mistreatment by Israel’s first family. A caretaker for Sara Netanyahu’s 96-year-old father, Mela claimed she was fired last night and had not been allowed to enter the Netanyahu residence - where she lived - to collect her things. (She later received them through an intermediary.) Yohanna Lerman, the lawyer representing her, said that preventing Mela from gathering her personal belongings would be a violation of Israeli law.
Mela and her lawyer also claimed she had been denied pay and vacation time, and that Mela’s right to privacy had been violated when the doctor who treated her made public details of her injury.
Israel’s first lady was afraid of her Nepalese employee.
That’s the updated version of events from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a day after his publicity team acknowledged that a domestic worker dislocated her finger during an argument with the prime minister’s scandal-prone wife.
The still-unnamed worker “responded with an uncontrollable burst of rage” after Sara Netanyahu made a comment about her work, “knocking herself to the ground and smashing into the floor and furniture,” according to a statement released today by the prime minister’s office. “Mrs. Netanyahu feared these bursts of anger [and] alerted her security team, which arrived within seconds.”
For the sake of his own political career, Benjamin Netanyahu might want to keep his wife away from household workers.
For the second time in less than two years, Israel’s first lady is being accused of serious mistreatment by an employee, an allegation that is now soaring to the top of Israel’s headlines. This time the complaint involves an as-yet unnamed foreign worker, who says she fell during an argument with Netanyahu. “She ran toward me, she came in my direction,” the worker told Channel 2 News, the country’s highest-rated nightly news program. “I got scared and moved back, then fell backwards and broke my finger.”
The dispute allegedly began over financial transfers from an account held by Sara Netanyahu’s elderly father, for whom the domestic worker provides care.
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